Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every three months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

Links to the full text for publications that appear in open access journals or are published on the AWI website are provided under the abstract.

Tips for using the database:

  • This landing page displays all of the publications in the database.
  • Use the drop-down menus to filter these publications by Animal Type and/or Topic.
  • Clicking on a parent category (e.g., Rodent) will include publications relating to all the items in that category (e.g., Chinchilla, Gerbil, Guinea pig, etc.).
  • You may also add a keyword to further narrow your search.
  • Please note that at this time, only publications dated 2010 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Animal Type and Topic. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 
Increased environmental complexity can improve animal welfare, depending on the resources provided and use by the animal. We provided chickens either with physical items that posed no biosecurity risk and were inexpensive (balls, chains, perches...
A negative human-animal relationship (HAR) from the perspective of the animal is a limiting factor affecting farm animal welfare, as well as farm animal productivity. Research in farm animals has elucidated sequential relationships between stockperson...
In conventional rearing systems, fast-growing broiler chickens commonly experience welfare issues, such as contact dermatitis, walking difficulties or a lack of expression of species-specific behaviours. Enriching their environment may be a way to improve their...
The concept of the 3Rs (Refinement, Reduction and Replacement) has been used as a framework for improving the welfare of laboratory animals for the last half century. By establishing an animal-centric view on housing and...
Access to pasture is a main benefit of free-range broiler housing systems, yet the level of outdoor stocking density on broiler animal welfare remains unsettled. The growth, feather damage, pasture ranging and behaviors were assessed...
Barren housing and high stocking densities may contribute to negative affective states in broiler chickens, reducing their welfare. We investigated the effects of environmental complexity and stocking density on broilers’ attention bias (measure of anxiety)...
Resting behaviours make up a large part of the daily time budget of broilers. However, in intensive broiler production systems disruptions of resting behaviours occur, where resting individuals get disturbed by active individuals. Such interruptions...
A common goal of captive animal institutions is to create environments that allow for the most naturalistic behavior from their animals. Behavioral data is often used as a measure of how an animal is thriving...
Positive stockperson attitudes to his or her animals is associated with a positive behavioural response in the animals and in other indicators assumed to reflect a high level of welfare as well as increased productivity...
GPS collars have revolutionized the field of animal ecology, providing detailed information on animal movement and the habitats necessary for species survival. GPS collars also have the potential to cause adverse effects ranging from mild...
The serval (Leptailurus serval) is a small African felid that is well represented in zoos and often serves as an animal ambassador in encounter programs with zoo visitors. The impact on serval welfare in relation...
This is the 5th volume of selected discussions that took place on the electronic Laboratory Animal Refinement & Enrichment Forum between February 2016 and December 2019. The forum was created in October 2002; it allows...
Guinea pigs are often involved in animal-assisted therapy (AAT) but there is little knowledge about the effects of human contact on guinea pigs involved in AAT. The aim of this study was to investigate effects...
Pet rabbit welfare is a hidden crisis: Inappropriately housed, fed, and not routinely provided healthcare—rabbits can often suffer painful conditions and shortened lifespans. This study provides novel understanding of owners’ perceptions of rabbits’ mental capabilities...
Domestic animals often seek and enjoy interacting with humans. Positive human–animal relationships can elicit positive emotions and other positive welfare outcomes. Nevertheless, our understanding of the underlying processes that govern the positive perception of humans...
This is a literature review of the effects of humans' relationships with farm animals on animal productivity and welfare, including the following topics: definition of the concept and description of different tests that have been...
Leg problems are highly prevalent in modern broiler production and provision of environmental enrichment could be a strategy to improve leg health. Different types of environmental enrichment have undergone evaluation. Our objective was to conduct...
Relationships between animals and their human caretakers can have profound impacts on animal welfare in farms, laboratories and zoos, while human attitudes are important predictors of caretaker behavior towards livestock. In this study, we examined...
The time that penguins devote to aquatic behaviors likely has important implications for their welfare in zoos and aquariums. For decades, field researchers have used time-depth recorders (TDRs) to understand the behavior of penguins at...
This ethical discourse specifically deals with dilemmas encountered within zoological institutions, namely for the concept of natural living, and a new term—wilding. It is agreed by some that zoos are not ethically wrong in principle...
Achieving and maintaining high standards of animal welfare is critical to the success of a modern zoo. Research has shown that an animal's welfare is highly dependent on how various individual animal factors (e.g., species...
The poultry team at The Pirbright Institute reviewed existing husbandry practices and trialled several refinement practices. The objective was to provide the birds used in research with an environment which enables them to express their...
In comparison to non-human animals, humans are highly flexible in cooperative tasks, which may be a result of their ability to understand a partner’s role in such interactions. Here, we tested if wolves and dogs...
Regular visual presence of humans is known to reduce chickens' human-generated stress responses. Here we questioned whether, more than mere visual presence, human behaviour affects laying hen behaviour and subsequently their offspring's behaviour. We hypothesized...
The current extinction crisis leaves us increasingly reliant on captive populations to maintain vulnerable species. Approximately one third of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) are living in semi-captive conditions in range countries. Their relationship with humans...

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